Study: EHR input can be improved to better assess quality of care

The quality of data in an EHR shows promise for assessing the quality of primary care, but clinical reporting first needs to be improved, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Information Association.  

The researchers, from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, noted that quality indicators for diabetes treatment are often retrieved from chronic disease registries. They evaluated the quality of primary care physicians' recording in their EHRs compared to the quality of recordings in a simple chronic disease registry.

The physicians, from 58 different practices, recorded their data into both the EHRs and the registry. The researchers reviewed the data from the EHRs and the registry on 8,235 patients with type 2 diabetes, looking at both process and outcome indicators. For process indicators, they reviewed the presence or absence of recordings; for outcome indicators they examined the number of compliant values of recordings.

They found that clinical items are not always adequately recorded in the EHR for retrieving indicators, but there was "good concordance for the values of these items."

"If the quality of recording improves, indicators can be reported from the EMR, which will reduce the workload of GPs and enable GPs to maintain a good patient overview," the researchers concluded.

Other reports have expressed concern that EHR data is incomplete and inaccurate, leading to diagnostic errors and research problems. Industry stakeholders have also called for greater EHR standardization to make the systems more useful.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract